I met a woman recently and, as conversation does, talk went to what we do and questions about my weird interesting job and what it entails. I told her that my background is marketing and so (since Wayne has taken over much of the operations & shipping), a lot of my work time with dignify is spent doing marketing types of things.
“Oh, yeah, I get it. Trying to convince people who wouldn’t want it to buy your stuff. I have a relative who breeds dogs and she works so hard trying to find and convince people to buy her dogs.”
That's not, how you say, how we do things around here.
I do understand why that might be a perspective on sales & marketing. There is such a range of attitudes and priorities in retail, and I certainly have seen behind the curtain amongst e-commerce sellers. They are called to promote urgency with timers and countdowns and “Act now, or else you’ll miss out!” kinds of “calls-to-action”. Sales and discounts and psychological pricing tactics are all meant to encourage customers to think less and act faster; they depend on the apathy that usually overrules buyer’s remorse.
There is a range, for sure, of the priorities, tactics, and attitudes of a marketer, but like most things, there is nothing inherently villainous about it!
As for me, I see my role in a completely different light than the gal I chatted to that morning.
Am I trying to falsely create a demand for $60-$300 blankets among people who don’t need or want them, or shouldn’t wisely spend their money on them? NO!
Rather, I see a great product that people have been delighted by, that provides a good employment opportunity for women who need it. I see people who are looking for wedding gifts that will surprise and delight and be cherished. I see friends and grandmas looking for a baby gift that will stand out from the crowd and impart some meaning to the gift recipient. I see women who want to bring art and beauty and texture into their homes or to those of the people they love.
My goal, as a business owner and as a marketer, is to find more of the people who are looking for exactly what we have, even if they’ve never before heard of “kantha”. To connect our product, which we are proud of and confident in, with the ones who will feel the same way.
To use the dog example from my conversation above: shouldn’t it simply be about matching the right dog lovers with the perfect dog for them? Isn’t it just a bad idea to “convince” someone to buy a dog, only for them to regret it later or struggle through the experience? Sure, you may get the money in your pocket, but at what cost? And to what benefit?
Don’t doubt that I will very vocally sing the praises of our kantha blankets. I will tell you about them, show you gorgeous pictures, write you emails when new collections arrive, and encourage you to buy them as Christmas gifts. Frankly, I think they are amazing!! If I didn't believe that, I am working on the wrong project.
Over the next two months, you will be inundated with marketing messages. If you interact with your surrounding, North American culture in ANY WAY on a daily basis... sales & marketing will be, almost literally, everywhere. If you browse our website, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or if you are on our Shop Good mailing list, this absolutely includes me!
I may sound like a broken record, but pay attention to the messages you are taking in, and be discerning! It is such a frantic season of shopping, but we don’t have to be swept up in it. I am the only one in charge of my wallet, and I’m not forking it over to just anyone.
Is XYZ brand trying to sell to me, or serve me? Am I being manipulated, or appreciated?
You’ll hear from me a lot in the coming months, but I hope that it is clear that the way I feel about our customers & community is most definitely the latter. If it doesn’t feel that way to you, don’t worry: I was offended by the low opinion of me by the woman in that conversation, but I won’t be offended by your unfollow. :)
For more thoughts on shopping smarter, spending better, and learning about some behind-the-scenes tactics used to get you buying, click to download our free guide to no buyer’s remorse.
This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic.
Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.
Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:
Mystery novels have often appealed to people with jobs that are never fully resolved (doctors, pastors, social workers). In this cultural era of many-problems-few-resolutions, reading a good mystery can be a refreshing break.
Our 12-year old daughter is the most avid, prolific reader I know! We teamed up to create a list of mysteries for all ages of independent readers. The recos below are listed with increasing age levels in mind, but no specific age parameters (as a mature, well-read, near-teen, she has read up to Agatha Christie on this list).
Our 11-year old computer is showing creaky signs of age, just about ready to go to sleep (and never wake up). But, we feel that it has served us well. When I compare it to other expenses over the years, the laptop is — at about a $100/year investment — one of our best value-for-dollar belongings.
When shopping for items like this, how do we choose well? How do we discern what brand/style/variety is built to last? Or, how do we determine even if “built to last” is relevant to the purchase?